Essays

Essays present critical analysis and debate on a pressing issue in African peacebuilding.

Special Issue: Westgate Mall Attack | December 4, 2013

The “Somali Question” and Ghosts of Past Security Dialogues in Africa

The Westgate mall attack in Kenya–one of the most recent indicators of the continuing rise in the use of terror by a network of insurrectionary groups in Africa and globally–compels us to reflect on extant approaches to national and regional security. The challenge that confronts Kenya (and indeed the rest of the continent and elsewhere) is whether it can conceive the security of Somalia and Somalis as an integral part of the security of the Kenyan state and people, as well as the neighboring region.

Photo credit to Flickr user albanyassociates.  Photo taken on June 12, 2013 by Stuart Price of AU-UN IST. This picture is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (new version CC BY 4.0). No changes were made. Original photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/albanyassociates/8385572633/
Ugandan soldier serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) walking inside Mogadishu National Stadium.
Mediation & Reconciliation | November 12, 2013

Mapping Reconciliation Processes in Africa: A Project Set to Fail or A Possible Gateway to Further Research?

Reconciliation has become an important term in the national discourse, particularly within Africa. Yet what reconciliation actually refers to, how it should be implemented, and how to assess its level of effectiveness remains a challenge for many States. This piece explores the creation of a database to map reconciliation processes across the African continent, questioning whether such a project would be destined to fail, or a gateway to further research.

Photo credit to Flickr user unamid. Photo taken on August 21, 2012 by Albert González Farran. This picture is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (new version CC BY 4.0). No changes were made. Original photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/unamid-photo/7836994082/
Reconciliation efforts between tribes in Mellit. Photo credit to Albert González Farran of UNAMID via Flikr Creative Commons
Mediation & Reconciliation | November 5, 2013

Mediating in Madagascar: Bypassing the AU Ban on Coup Legitimization

A great political problem on the African continent is the scourge of coups have taken place over the past half century, one being in Madagascar in 2009. To combat these coups, the African Union has put in place a firm policy commitment to reject coups and other unconstitutional changes of government. While at first glance, the AU’s ban on coup legitimization is a decisive rejection of the military overthrow of governments and, thus, a compelling deterrent to future coups, it becomes clear upon further investigation that the ban itself is incompatible with mediation, which the AU invariably undertakes to restore constitutional order.

Photo credit to Flickr user ratozamanana. Photo taken on January 24, 2009 by Ratozamanana Andriankoto. This picture is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (new version CC BY 4.0). No changes were made. Original photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ratozamanana/3223344244
Andry Rajoelina parades through the streets after taking office.
Peacebuilding in Congo | October 18, 2013

Why Peacebuilding in Eastern Congo Often Goes Wrong, and Why It Is So Hard to Get Right

Why is building peace in a context such as the Congolese conflicts so hard?  Despite many efforts, including the presence of the largest United Nations peacekeeping mission, international treaties, and peace talks, peacebuilding in eastern Congo has become a difficult task with a myriad of complexities. Havenith and Vogel seek to understand these challenges.

Photo credit to Flickr user noodlepie. Photo taken by Graham Holliday on May 9, 2012. This picture is licensed under CC BY 2.0. No changes were made. Original photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/noodlepie/7166807794/
United Nations tent on DR Congo border with Rwanda | Photo Credit to Flickr user noodlepie
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